Nichelle Nichols passed away Saturday at the age of 89.
The tributes and memories to Nichelle Nichols have been coming in all weekend since the news of the actress’ passing was posted. A truly legendary woman, Nichols was the epitome of grace and beauty whether onscreen or off, and she lit up the screen every time her character of Lt. Uhura appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series. Though not given much to do on many of the series’ episodes, the times when she was made her shine all the more.
Who could ever forget her scenes in “The Trouble with Tribbles” or, one of my favorites, her interaction with George Takei’s Lt. Sulu in “The Naked Time?”
"Sulu: I’ll protect you, fair maiden!Uhura: Sorry! Neither!"
In 2009, another actress took on the role that Nichols made famous. Zoe Saldana was cast as Lt. Nyota Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ remake of Star Trek. And Saldana admitted to her nine million Instagram fans that she had big shoes to fill, but she said Nichols convinced her to believe that anything was achievable. She made Saldana feel safe by telling the actress to play Uhura with all the confidence in the world.
Nichelle Nichols handed over the reins with style, but she will always be Lt. Uhura.
Saldana’s post is a beautiful tribute to the woman who will always be remembered as the first woman of Star Trek. She ended her post by saying that “It’ll be hard to forget what she [Nichols] said and hard to forget what she did, and it will certainly be impossible to forget how she made us feel.”
It’s a fitting and lasting tribute to an exceptionally talented actress who knew the world needed to be changed so she changed it.